Procrastinating with Lynne Edris

We all let things slide. But procrastination with ADHD can lead to a set of behaviors that are tough to reset. This week on the show, ADHD coach Lynne Edris joins us to talk about her work with clients to do just that.

Lynne is a productivity and ADHD coach and co-host of the award-winning ADHD Support Talk podcast. Lynne specializes in helping professionals struggling to reach their potential due to challenges with disorganization, procrastination, poor time-management, weak follow-through, and having too much on their plates. She’s a fantastic resource and we’re thrilled she’s joined us this week to help!

Links & Notes


Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright:
Hello, everybody, and welcome to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast on True Story FM. I’m Pete Wright, and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer:
Hello, everyone. Hello, Pete Wright.

Pete Wright:
Oh, hi, Nikki.

Nikki Kinzer:
How are you?

Pete Wright:
Hi. So, I’m actually… I’m pretty good.

Nikki Kinzer:
Good.

Pete Wright:
It’s a good Monday. We have a fantastic guest on the show, and that definitely levels up my day. It’s not actively raining. It’s pretty gray, but I’ll tell you the most. I ordered a whole bunch of new cables. This is weird. I ordered new cables and wires and stuff and a new wall charger for all the devices and they get delivered today. And so, it’s like electronics Christmas. I know it sounds strange. I get an incredible rise out of new electronic stuff. It could just be a cord and I’m excited about it. I am going to reorganize things. That’s what my afternoon-

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s awesome.

Pete Wright:
… is going to be. I’m very excited about that.

Nikki Kinzer:
So, you’re getting chords and I just got my HelloFresh meals to cook for a couple days this week and that made me really happy because I don’t have to go to the grocery store. I don’t have to think about a recipe. I can just put it all together and it’s done.

Pete Wright:
That is lovely, lovely.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes. We both have great little pre-Christmas gift things.

Pete Wright:
Little gifts.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Little daytime gifts. We are going to talk all about, I feel like I’ve been waiting to order those chords for a long time which is why it’s on the brain because I’ve been procrastinating, and we’re going to talk all about procrastination and ADHD. And I can’t wait to do that because I’ve been fixating.

Pete Wright:
Before we do that, however, head over to takecontroladhd.com, you can get to know us a little bit better. You can subscribe… Listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list. We’ll send you an email each time a new episode is released. Of course, you can find it everywhere the finer podcasts are served. Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook at Take Control ADHD, and if the show has ever touched you or helped you make a change in your life in any way with your ADHD we invite you to consider supporting the show directly through Patreon at patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. Patreon is listener supported podcasting and all contributions there go directly to growing the show, and allowing us to spend more time doing it, and doing all kinds of new features like for example, full transcripts, human powered transcripts of every single episode, which you can find on the website at Take Control ADHD. For that and other stuff, we count on your support to make it happen. Patreon.com/theadhdpodcast to learn more. Thank you.

Pete Wright:
Lynne Edris, productivity and ADHD coach, and co-host of the award winning ADHD Support Talk Podcast. Lynne specializes in helping professionals struggling to reach their potential due to challenges with disorganization, procrastination, poor time management, weak follow through, and other things I’ve never heard of. She’s all about helping people who have too much on their plates. And she’s here to talk to us today about just one of those, procrastination. Lynne Edris, welcome to The ADHD Podcast.

Lynne Edris:
Thank you, guys. I’m excited to be [crosstalk 00:03:24]-

Pete Wright:
We’re thrilled to have you.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely.

Pete Wright:
You’ve got your… I want to start, before we dig into the procrastination stuff. Please, would you tell the folks a little bit about your podcast. For those who are looking for a new binge. I I’ve been listening to the ADHD Support Talk for a little while. I regret to say it is new to me. For the last I think, I don’t know, right around… What month is it? It was right around, ironically when the pandemic hit. Clearly, I wasn’t looking for anything else to do.

Lynne Edris:
Searching for new podcasts sounds about right. [crosstalk 00:04:00].

Pete Wright:
And I start searching, I realize you guys have been… The podcast itself has been around since 2008. You are the grand dom of ADHD podcasting.

Nikki Kinzer:
Indeed, yeah. [crosstalk 00:04:16].

Pete Wright:
When did you join the show full-time? It’s a couple years now, right?

Lynne Edris:
To be honest with you, I can’t remember. It was somewhere between I always say six months and 10 years ago, I’m not sure-

Pete Wright:
That sounds about right.

Lynne Edris:
… somewhere in the middle there. Tara McGillicuddy founded it, and she brought me in… Oh, gosh, it’s been several years to co-host with her. So we always have a lot of fun together, and we approach things similarly. So, I was honored to be brought on to such a long running show and it’s been a lot of fun. And it’s been a really great way to meet some of our colleagues that I’ve never met in real life and actual person so it’s been a lot of fun.

Pete Wright:
Absolutely. Well, it is great. Find it everybody ADHD Support Talk, just search for it where podcasts are found. And the Google knows where it is too, and definitely jump in. I just… Whenever I start doing my show prep for this show in the morning, I’ll turn on a podcast as I’m kind of… And this morning, I kicked it off with your episode on ADHD and burnout, the most current episode that showed up in my feed. Burnout and procrastination, are obviously these twisted siblings, right? They’re so frustrating. And the big struggle for me is connected to my practice of rest to get back on track with time. How do you see those things, those factors working together against us with ADHD?

Lynne Edris:
Oh, my gosh, it’s all like a big pile of tangled spaghetti sometimes, right?

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Lynne Edris:
But it’s, I think, right now for so many of us there are a lot of different ways that we rest. And for some of us with ADHD, it’s like the typical definition of rest, sleep, which has its very own challenges, of course. And then there’s the kind of rest and recharge that you get from your interest outside of the things that you do that are all day long. Whether it’s taking care of your home, or your business, or work, or whatever. And I think the thing right now that’s happening for a lot of us, and I know I’m feeling it more now I think as sort of in the midst of all of this insanity. We’re heading into maybe a prolonged additional period of let’s call it difficulty. A lot of those things that I did that I didn’t even really identify as ways that I recharge are gone.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right.

Lynne Edris:
Just going out.

Nikki Kinzer:
You can’t do it, yeah.

Lynne Edris:
Going out to eat, getting together with friends. All of those sort of things that were regular parts of my life that were a part of how I recharged and how I rested and got myself back on top things are gone. [crosstalk 00:06:55].

Pete Wright:
It’s so funny, it’s coming clear to me as you say this. That is exactly it. Even when I would take my laptop and go down the street to my favorite coffee shop, Insomnia, and sit there and work. That was a recharging effort. That was regenerating for me. And that’s gone.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yep.

Lynne Edris:
Yeah, and I think it’s extra hard for us with ADHD because we need more stimulation because we need more variety. That’s so important to us, and most of us are really having a difficult time finding ways to get that right now. Absolutely, and anytime you’re in a slump, let’s call it. Well, anytime procrastination can be a problem. But it may be more problematic when you’re not recharged. I think just about anything can impact procrastination when it comes to ADHD, but it’s a big one.

Nikki Kinzer:
That makes total sense because right, if you’re already burnt out, and it’s going to just make it that much easier to avoid whatever it is that you need to do that you just don’t want to do. Absolutely. It’s a good point.

Pete Wright:
I think your experience in working with professionals, entrepreneurs. I think we’ve got a lot of folks in our audience who fit that category. Who are inspired individuals, and I think they would love to hear your insights based on your experience working with these folks about how procrastination impacts those at work and what the costs are, ultimately. Why is it important that we take a step back and get our arms around this?

Lynne Edris:
Honestly, I’ve been at this for what? Going on 15 years now. And over time we work with people from all over the world, all different walks of life, all different kinds of professions, all different sort of lives, backgrounds, whatever, and all different kinds of challenges as well. I always think of my top three reasons that people come to me for help. Number three, probably number three most common thing I hear about when people come to me looking for help is overwhelm. Number two is procrastination. And sometimes we call it poor follow through, but it’s all tangled up in that not doing what you intend to do when you intend to do it stuff. But the number one most common complaint of everyone who comes to me for help regardless of what they do, where they’re from, how old they are, all of the different varieties of people is feeling that they’re not living up to their potential.

Lynne Edris:
So those feelings of unmet potential, not achieving what you know you’re capable of consistently because that consistency is key for us. Most of us have glimmers of greatness, glimmers of being able to work in the way we know we’re capable of, but we’re not able to sustain it. And if you think about overwhelm and procrastination and unmet potential, I always say they’re kind of like three sides to a triangle. If you’re overwhelmed, you’re probably not following through on everything you intend to follow through. And if you’re not following through on everything you intend to do, or everything you need to do, there’s no way you can live up to your potential.

Lynne Edris:
And I think in the bigger picture of our lives with ADHD, in the bigger picture of the people that we work with, those feelings of unmet potential are, I think, the most painful. In the bigger picture of how you feel about yourself, how you feel about your life, it’s really all about fulfillment. And when you know you’re not showing up in the way you’re capable of showing up. You know you’re not showing up in a way that’s consistent with your values and who you really intend to be. That disconnect is where so much of I think the big pain comes from.

Nikki Kinzer:
Something that I see a lot with my clients as well is we have to look at what that potential is because I find that so many people have these really high unrealistic expectations of what they think they should be or should be doing. And they’re comparing themselves either to other ADHDers or neurotypicals. And I’m curious how do you approach that when you can see that the potential they’re looking at isn’t really realistic. Like, it’s-

Pete Wright:
Well, as soon as you start comparing yourself to somebody else, that’ll stop me in my tracks. Like, oh-

Lynne Edris:
For sure.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, absolutely.

Pete Wright:
They already did it. And they did it so much better and faster. I guess I better have more cereal.

Lynne Edris:
Right. And look at her pictures on Instagram or look at his Facebook profile. His life or her life is perfect, right? I always say people don’t put their chins on, so they’re double chins on social media.

Nikki Kinzer:
No, because you make sure that the pictures are [crosstalk 00:11:42]-

Lynne Edris:
You’re only seeing-

Nikki Kinzer:
[inaudible 00:11:42] picture.

Pete Wright:
You always take the picture and then you duck face.

Lynne Edris:
I am so not a selfie girl. I hate having pictures of myself. I don’t look at myself when I’m on video. But all my girlfriends are like, “Put your chin up, Lynne.” I’m like, “First of all, I feel like I’m sitting…” If you remember [inaudible 00:11:58], like I’m sitting with the [inaudible 00:11:59] photographer. Contorting my face and the angle, it’s just not natural. But everyone else seems to [crosstalk 00:12:06]-

Pete Wright:
Can I just tell you, I have some friends who are couples. And whenever they take pictures, they put their arms around each other, and they will grab each other, the back of each other’s neck and pull the skin tight. I’m not kidding. One, it’s bizarre-

Lynne Edris:
I need those friends.

Pete Wright:
Two, it works. Their pictures look great.

Lynne Edris:
I need those friends.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, that is crazy. I’ve never heard that before. [crosstalk 00:12:31]. You crack me up.

Pete Wright:
All right. That was a major sidetrack. Please, Lynne tell us what you think. [crosstalk 00:12:38].

Lynne Edris:
What you’re talking about, Nikki, it’s that perfectionism, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Lynne Edris:
I think there’s a big, that all or nothing, sort of that perfectionism piece of ADHD that I think doesn’t get paid enough attention to, as grammatically incorrect as that was. But it’s something that we don’t talk about enough. It’s something that isn’t addressed in the DSM. But it’s a super prevalent characteristic. We all have this, most of us have. And it shows up differently. And sometimes it’s… I have a lot of clients who will say, “Well, I’m not a perfectionist. How can I be a perfectionist? I’m a hot mess.” Or, “I can’t be such a mess, or I can’t be such as disaster, and so disorganized, and be a perfectionist.” But for so many of us, it actually is that sort of perfectionism that is causing us not to be able to do the things that we want to do, or the things that we’re capable of.

Lynne Edris:
I think that’s a big thing you guys know we need to work on in coaching. I call that… That’s part of what I call the between the ears piece. We’ve got to address that perfectionism, so that you can start to shift to doing what you’re capable of, and the way you’re capable of doing it. I am married. My poor husband’s always the subject of my podcasts and my webinars and whatever. And I think he has no idea the vast majority of the time, which is probably just as well. But we’ve been married for 32 years. And he is an engineer, and he is the least ADHD guy in the world. He ends every day with a zero inbox. He ends every day with one piece of paper on his desk, and that’s his to-do-list for tomorrow.

Nikki Kinzer:
Impressive.

Lynne Edris:
I mean, his shirts are all hanging in the same direction. All the white shirts are together, all the… It’s just how he was born.

Pete Wright:
He’s a catch.

Lynne Edris:
He is but if you can imagine that is absolutely the opposite of me. I am very much like kind of go with the flow, and I do things by feel, and he’s getting the… He’s doing the three four or five measurement to make sure the sofa’s perfectly square on the wall, and I’m going to a little to the left, a little to the right. We just approach things differently. But I believe that I can be just as successful as I’m capable of being, but I don’t… I’m not going to get there trying to do it his way. So, it’s fun. It’s been good with who you are. Being good with doing things your way. Really getting in touch with what your strengths are, what your tendencies are, I think those things are the things that are the keys to your success. Learning to lean on those and rely on those.

Lynne Edris:
And then I don’t want to say the sky’s the limit. We’ve all got limitations. But I think most of us know what we’re capable of. Most of us know that we could be doing better, being better. And that disconnect between how you’re showing up and how you intend to show up, especially when it’s fueled by things like procrastination is where a lot of that pain is. So getting in touch with what is it that you want? Which sounds so obvious, but so many of our clients come to us and aren’t real clear on what they want because they haven’t really allowed themselves or given themselves the space, and the time, and the energy, and the focus to think about that. And to really believe that it’s possible again. Again, assuming that at one point in their lives, usually at a much younger age they realized what was possible, but we really have to learn to do it our way and be okay.

Pete Wright:
I like to think that I’m a perfectionist, and I’m just not very good at it. And that’s where the pain exists because I have the taste and the awareness to know what it looks like to do the job right. And I am unable to actually do that. And so, I feel the gap. So much of my experience with ADHD is in attempting to close the gap through systems and processes and all the other stuff. The thing that I’m bitten by constantly, we’ve talked about it on the show, it’s been long enough that we need to bring it back because everybody I think needs a reminder of this. I used to think I was alone. And it’s delightful that I am not. It is the procrastination that is procrastination by utility. And I found a new word for it this morning, or a new phrase for it, last minute propulsion, which I love. I love because it just some way it makes me think, “Oh, you’re right. It does feel like I’m in a rocket without a seat belt when that happens, right?”

Pete Wright:
It’s that experience where I’ve been putting something off. It’s become a big clogging task. I feel like I’m going to be letting people down. And finally midnight, the night before it’s due, it all turns on, and I have this rush of energy, and this sort of adrenaline fueled frenzy, and I get it done. But I suffer along the way. It usually involves weeks of stress and anxiety and panic and fear and all of those things. So, I come to you and I say how do you handle this? When people come to you and say, “Oh, I do this, and I do it on purpose.”

Lynne Edris:
I call that the crash and burn cycle. We delay, avoid, delay, avoid for a very wide variety of reasons. And before I… I’m going to take a quick step back because I think one of the things that I like to dig out with my clients right out of the gate, and one of the things that I teach on a regular basis is to really think about what procrastination is. And that sounds obvious because we live there so much we think we know generally what it is. But if you think about, oh gosh, years ago, 15 years ago, maybe more than that. I used to run a local ADHD support group. And I was doing a talk on procrastination, and I kept… I was like, “I need some inspiration. I need to come up with another word besides saying procrastination 715 times in 45 minutes.” I got out my good old fashioned hardback Webster’s dictionary, and I looked up procrastination, and the definition was something to the effect of putting off intentionally doing something that needs to be done. I have it, I’ve saved it because I think that speaks volumes [crosstalk 00:18:54]-

Pete Wright:
You need to say it again. Putting off intentionally doing something that needs to be done.

Lynne Edris:
Intention is part of the definition. Intentionally, doing something that needs to be done.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Lynne Edris:
Or needs to be done, or something like that. But it said putting off intentionally something that needs to be done. And the word intention really hit me there. Because most of the time when you have ADHD, you procrastinate, you have good intentions. I think that it sounds like maybe an excuse, but I think it’s an important distinction to make. Because there are times when we intentionally procrastinate. Like don’t really care, don’t really, aren’t concerned about the outcome, aren’t concerned about any consequences. That’s intentional procrastination. That’s the way that I frame it. When you have good intentions, and you still put something off, or delay something, or avoid something, or don’t follow through something, if it’s not an intention issue, then the solution needs to be different. Does that make sense?

Lynne Edris:
So, I think of it like intentions as being connected to your values, and that sort of like a character, moral, sort of a problem, right? I don’t care about the outcome. So I’m just not going to do this thing. And sometimes that’s what it looks like. But usually with ADHD, that’s not the problem. It’s not that we don’t care. Maybe we care too much. Maybe we’re tangled up in perfectionism. Maybe depending on what it is sometimes poor follow through or procrastination is a memory and systems problem. But when you address it, when you… I always say the solution needs to fit the problem. So, when you address maybe a strategy problem, like a memory problem. Or you address a motivation and overwhelm problem with a moral solution, which is like a lecture. Here you go again, all that negative self talk that we all do to ourselves. Here we are again. You always do this, all of that stuff.

Lynne Edris:
That solution doesn’t solve the problem. And in fact, it usually makes it worse. So we get into this, I know I need to do this thing. I know I need to get going, but I delay, avoid, delay, avoid, delay, avoid. And then it’s the impending deadline, the impending crisis, the potential negative outcome that’s going to come when you don’t do that thing finally gives you the stimulation. It finally fires up that underactive part of your brain that is ADHD related. And it finally gives you the zap or the boost with the cortisol and the adrenaline rush, and all of that to finally be able to focus more easily. And it feels easier, and it feels more clear.

Lynne Edris:
And that sort of cycle perpetuates over time because it gets reinforced. So, delay, avoid, delay, avoid, big boost adrenaline rush at the last minute. All of a sudden we can focus on something that we couldn’t do before. All of a sudden we can get ourselves moving on something that we couldn’t get ourselves moving on before. We don’t figure out another way to start moving before we hit that adrenaline rush. So it gets reinforced, and we tell ourselves, I work best under pressure. We tell ourselves, “I need to wait for that motivation. I need to wait for that boost.”

Lynne Edris:
And that ends up creating this cycle that over time it gets harder to maintain. So, when you’re young, when you’re in your teens, when you’re in your 20s depending on your life, and life in the grand scheme of the demands on you and your responsibilities is relatively simple. That actually sort of works. But then as you get older life gets more complex, your responsibilities get more complex. What happens is that pattern becomes unsustainable. The things that you are responsible for, the people that were depending on you as you’re recovering from that crazy mad rush at the end, all that stuff falls by the wayside, gets neglected, creating another crisis down the road.

Lynne Edris:
And the cycle starts to perpetuate itself faster and faster and more frequently. And we don’t recover as well when we get older because we don’t have the space to do that. Some of that might be I’m in my 50s. So my recovery is definitely not what it used to be when I was in my 20s. When I was in my 20s, I might take it easy at class or blow off a class or take it easy at work for a day and a few extra cups of coffee and I was ready to go again.

Pete Wright:
This goes back to the costs that come with procrastination, and that changes over time.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely.

Pete Wright:
[crosstalk 00:23:42]. You’re absolutely right. I used to be able to go… To work an incredible schedule and not feel it, and I am still-

Nikki Kinzer:
Nope.

Pete Wright:
… surprised today when I can’t, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Right.

Pete Wright:
It’s like, “I used to be able to do this. Why can’t I do this anymore?”

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s what I hear. That is so true, Pete, because I’ll hear that from clients too. Like, “I was able to do this.” Okay, let’s look back at when you were able to do it. You were in your 20s. You didn’t have kids. You didn’t have a house… You probably didn’t have a mortgage. You were renting. You had roommates. I mean, there were all these things that were different, but it’s true. Going back to the comparison, they’re comparing themselves to themselves at this period of their life that just doesn’t… It’s not the same. It’s just different.

Pete Wright:
Right.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Lynne Edris:
It’s not, and as you get older no matter what you do for a profession, your responsibilities get more complex as well. So they also get a little bit harder. So it ends up being the cycle that we have to learn how to get ourselves moving sooner. We have to learn how to address it. We have to learn how to notice it. So much of what we do in coaching is about awareness. Being aware of when you’re procrastinating, being aware of when you’re playing putting something off, what you’re avoiding. Having your system set up to support you so that this thing that you want to start moving forward is on your radar soon enough that it’s not an, oh, crap, that thing is tomorrow or at eight o’clock [crosstalk 00:25:18], whatever. You’ve got a little bit of a warning shot and you can start to get yourself moving, but really learning how you work, and learning that’s part of how you work. I call… What did you call it, Pete? The intentional delay-

Nikki Kinzer:
Last minute-

Lynne Edris:
Procrastination.

Pete Wright:
No, last minute propulsion.

Nikki Kinzer:
Propulsion.

Lynne Edris:
Propulsion.

Pete Wright:
That nails it because that’s exactly-

Lynne Edris:
That’s what it feels like.

Pete Wright:
… what it feels like, right?

Lynne Edris:
Yeah. Right.

Pete Wright:
I feel like my experience of it is that when I was in my 20s, I looked at this as part of the bouquet of superpowers that came with me being me. And that evolved into a story. And that story has evolved into a lie. And that is, I’m blown away by that aspect of how the narrative has changed over my life because it only has become a lie when my emotional, physiological experience of late last minute propulsion can’t keep up with the story that I’ve been telling myself for so many years. I have to develop coping systems to be able to be able to live up to that, and I can’t. So, I have to do something different. And that has meant a scaffolding of alarms and alerts and time blocking and things that I never had to worry about. I could keep it all in my head, even when it was nuts. I could keep it in my head, and then I just… Because I had energy to do it. And now it falls apart. I’m too distracted. Yeah.

Lynne Edris:
I love that you said that about the lie. Because that’s one of the things that I talk about is it’s I call it the motivation myth. That you’ve got to feel it. You’ve got to feel motivated. You’ve got to feel enthused. You’ve got to feel your way into stuff, if that makes sense. So that whole cycle that we create, that boost of adrenaline that we get in the crisis, that boost of all those brain chemicals, the dopamine, and everything that we need to really get us focused and get us moving boosts that motivation. So then we feel like we need it. But the truth is we buy into that lie over time that we need the motivation because life feels easier when you’re motivated. No matter what the motivator is, whether it’s positive, or it’s negative, you’re going to get fired tomorrow if you don’t turn that report in. That’s all a motivator.

Lynne Edris:
Learning how to break that motivation myth, so that you can start to buy into something else. You don’t need motivation to do stuff. We all do stuff all day long that we’re not motivated to do I’ve never in my life been motivated to cook a meal.

Nikki Kinzer:
Me either. That’s why I have HelloFresh. I mean, I am cooking it-

Lynne Edris:
I don’t love that.

Nikki Kinzer:
I am cooking it, but I don’t have to do anything really other than just slice and [crosstalk 00:28:05]-

Lynne Edris:
Stock and plan and all of that stuff. Yeah, I’ve never been motivated intrinsically to clean my house. And it gets to a point where if people are coming or it gets bad enough, then I feel the motivation. But I do that stuff all the time without the motivation. And that’s the piece that is really important to remember that just because you don’t feel like it doesn’t mean you can’t. That’s the motivation myth. Really, I always talk about getting yourself moving when you don’t feel motivated. Starting to chip away, I always use metaphors like a sculptor would do. He gets the big block of stone, or she gets the big block of stone, and they gradually chip away at it until it starts to take shape.

Lynne Edris:
If we can start to chip away at something, then that starts to reinforce. We start to see something take shape. We can start to get a little bit more motivated by the successes that we’re creating, and that boost that we give ourselves, but we have to learn ways to do it that work for us. Because if you’re buying into the motivation myth, I guarantee you the cost is far greater than you’re realizing it is. There’s a direct connection between that lie, between that myth, and your inability to reach your potential consistently.

Pete Wright:
I’m totally stuck in my own head just right now because as I’m talking about the way the story turns into a lie over time, one of the things I just said out loud was even when it was crazy, I could keep everything in my head, which is actually part of the lie that I tell myself. I could never keep anything in my head. I’ve never been able to do that. I’ve always from day one. From my Franklin Covey, Franklin Quest planners, I have been suffering with not being able to do this. And that narrative has become a lie that it’s so easy to tell because of this magnificent productivity myth that I can conjure in my head at any given moment. It’s so fast. And it’s just an untruth.

Lynne Edris:
It’s reflective.

Pete Wright:
It’s reflective, and it is like being able… All of this goes to I think, one of the core muscles that we with ADHD have to constantly exercise which is being able to be aware when we are telling a lie about ourselves or to ourselves in support of the myth. And I also need to do that. [crosstalk 00:30:43].

Lynne Edris:
Oh, no.

Pete Wright:
I am exhausted.

Lynne Edris:
But you caught it, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Lynne Edris:
Those things come back that it’s not like, you don’t always have to believe… I always tell my clients, “Just because you believe something doesn’t mean it’s true,” right? So, it popped up in the moment, and you were aware enough to catch it because you’re aware that that’s one of the-

Pete Wright:
I’m sitting here thinking, “I only just met Lynne Edris, and I’m lying to her about myself.” What?

Lynne Edris:
But in that instance, that’s how you remember it, in that instance. And I think some of that may be wishful thinking, right? I wish I could keep it all in my head. Although there’s so much up there. I’m not sure where it would fit. [crosstalk 00:31:26].

Pete Wright:
That’s it. Oh, if I could keep it all in my head, just fine. But the qualification is I’ll never get it out. I will never get it out.

Lynne Edris:
Never find it again.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, it’s something I want to just add too. I was talking to a client last week, and we were talking about setting up their to-do-list and their calendar and how they were going to get things done. And the whole thing of how this was all going to work and break it down. Yeah, the whole system. And one of the things he asked me is he said, “Am I… Is it always going to be this hard? Do I always have to do this?” And I’m like, “I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but yeah, you kind of do. And it’s hard at the beginning because you’re setting it up and you don’t really trust it.” I said, “It will get easier as you start using the system, and you’re getting used to it. You know how to tweak it, and like we were saying before, you’re making it your own. It’s your system to work for you.”

Nikki Kinzer:
But I was saying, “Are you always going to need it? Yes.” Because that’s the reality, and I think that that’s the hard part. The acceptance part that a lot of people struggle with is that they don’t want to have to do this. But it’s the scaffolding. It’s the structure that they need to have to work with their ADHD. And so, I’m just curious, when you’re talking to your clients about that acceptance piece, how do you do that with them? What kinds of conversations do you have?

Lynne Edris:
It’s huge, and that is huge. And especially when I used to work with younger people, and I have a son with ADHD, he’s 25 now. He’s in grad school. He actually just got married.

Nikki Kinzer:
Wow.

Lynne Edris:
He moved Germany. So he’s-

Pete Wright:
Yeah, he’s done it [crosstalk 00:33:11].

Lynne Edris:
… on his own, not even on my [crosstalk 00:33:13]-

Pete Wright:
Oh, huge.

Lynne Edris:
… which is awesome. It is huge because it obviously took a lot to get him to that point. But a lot of us don’t want to need this stuff. We don’t want to need to use the systems. And I think part of that’s a lie, too. We have this belief that other people don’t need them. And that’s one of the things that was amazing to me marrying somebody like my husband. He can keep all that crap in his head, and it absolutely amazes me. My memory is crazy good sometimes, but it’s completely unreliable.

Lynne Edris:
I can remember a conversation from 30 years ago. I can remember the words to a song I didn’t even like from 35 years ago. But I cannot remember why I walked into the room if I’m not really paying attention. It’s totally unreliable. But we have this belief that other people don’t need this stuff. And to see my husband lean so heavily, and other people around me that don’t have ADHD, lean heavily on their tools reminds me that that’s a lie that we’re telling ourselves. But you are exactly right. I mean, we need to.. There’s a word for it, and I can’t think what it is. But it’s more than just accepting it. It’s surrendering to it.

Lynne Edris:
When you can surrender to the fact that these things support you. And the more you use them, and the more you get them set up in a way where they work for you naturally, the more they’ve got your back. It gets to the point where it’s so easy to use them that you wouldn’t dream of not because the payback is so significant. And that takes a lot of shifting in the way think about things to get there.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely. And I just want to say somebody who does not have ADHD, I rely on my systems very heavily. Thank you to, Pete Wright, for introducing me to them, to introducing them to me because I have things and I’m able to do my email in a way that… Because Pete is so… He’s a genius when it comes to technology. But it’s so true. And I just want to say that, I can’t keep everything in my head. And I can tell you, there’s been many times where I’ve missed appointments because I didn’t put it on my calendar because I trust my calendar so much that if I don’t see it I didn’t show up. If I didn’t have it on my things list, if I didn’t put it in there I don’t do it. And so, I just want to say, yes. As a person who doesn’t have ADHD, I rely on them just as much. I have alarms. Now, not to take away from the fact that I know with ADHD it is much harder and it’s different.

Lynne Edris:
Yes.

Nikki Kinzer:
[crosstalk 00:35:52].

Pete Wright:
But that’s the lie, isn’t it, Nikki?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
That’s part of the lie, which is that there is a… That’s another gap because everybody uses systems. And the degree to which your ADHD gets in the way of you remembering to use systems is the degree to which you’re going to drop things, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, right.

Pete Wright:
That’s the toned muscle. I think living without ADHD, you are less likely to just stop using the tool if it is working for you. You’ll discover it’s working, you’ll inherit that pattern, and it will become something that you’re able to do. And with ADHD, that’s why I know so many systems because I can’t just have one. I got to have them all.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right. Well, and then there’s this degree of shame with ADHD too that I think is the difference, right? Because I may not feel bad if something doesn’t work. Like I had a… In fact, I showed it to our audience at the beginning of the year. I had this bullet journal that I found that man shamed me because I was like, “I need a 2020 planner,” and it was February. And he said, “Oh, they’re almost all sold out.” And I’m like, “Okay, fine.”

Pete Wright:
Nobody plans in February, Nikki.

Nikki Kinzer:
I still want one.

Pete Wright:
It’s not the planning time.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, I mean, they all do it in December, apparently.

Pete Wright:
You have missed it.

Nikki Kinzer:
I guess, yeah.

Lynne Edris:
You missed it. Now, it’s over. [crosstalk 00:37:10].

Nikki Kinzer:
But I remember showing the audience. I remember saying here, I got this. I’m going to try it. And it didn’t work, and I think that that is a little bit of the difference, too, is that I didn’t feel shameful about that. I was able to just say, “Okay, it didn’t work. I’m moving on to something else.” Where I see a lot of my clients, and this is the in between, the head thing, that we’re trying to work on is that they put that shame that they did something wrong. They’re not doing it right. Oh, here I go again. I didn’t follow through. And so, trying to break that mindset too that it’s okay if it didn’t work. You can throw it away without guilt, and try something new and tweak that. If you get bored, Pete, you can try another one because no one out there is saying that you can only have one planner, one way, for the rest of your life-

Pete Wright:
For the rest of my life.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, for sure.

Lynne Edris:
Right. Once you know what works for you, and how you work. How you organize things naturally, how you process information, what your idiosyncrasies and tendencies are, you can tweak just about anything to work for you. But once you tune into that, the how you work piece, the strengths piece. But you talked about something that is really important, and we can’t talk about procrastination without talking about shame. We can’t because that’s where most of us go automatically.

Lynne Edris:
The minute we find ourselves putting something off, and we realize we’re not doing something we intend to do or we know we need to do. We’re delaying, whatever you want to call it, avoiding, we’re stuck, we’re overwhelmed, whatever. The first place most of our clients with ADHD go is blame and shame. Here we go again. Excuse my French, guys. Same shit, different day. You always do this. You always find yourself here. You’ll never get it together. Whatever those sort of tapes are that are playing. And when you go there, you are 180 degrees from where you need to be to find solutions, to find strategies, to find your way in.

Lynne Edris:
And that’s why I always like to talk about that distinction between procrastination with intent to procrastinate, and being stuck or not following through, or avoiding for another reason because the solutions, again, have to fit the problem. So if you are in blame and shame, and what I call self flagellation, beating yourself up, you are 180 degrees from where you need to be to find strategies, and find solutions to the problem. You cannot be in proactive problem solving mode and be in blame and shame at the same time.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, that’s a good point.

Lynne Edris:
It’s impossible. So we have to learn to break that pattern, and we have to learn to recognize it and shift out of it and start to change the way that we’re thinking and the tapes that we’re playing those automatic thoughts that we have. Those reflex ways that we respond to ourselves. It’s so important. If you can’t address what’s going on between your ears, no amount of strategies, no amount of systems, no any planner, any system, any tool, any hack, any tip, any trick, any anything is going to work for the long haul if that voice between your ears, if you want to put it that way is telling you, you can’t do it. It’s always going to be right. It’s always going to win in the long haul. It’s a really important part of the work that we do that I think doesn’t get talked about enough. It really is, so much of it for so many of my clients isn’t as much about the system or the strategy or the tool as where their head goes when it’s not working perfectly right out of the block.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right, yeah.

Pete Wright:
Just back to the propulsion bit, I think that is, I guess, inspirational for fear when it comes to that midnight.

Lynne Edris:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Especially, when you’ve been doing it this way all your life, and suddenly it’s midnight, and it hasn’t happened. You haven’t gotten that burst of creativity, and suddenly you’re terrified. You’re just terrified. What if it doesn’t come? That mystery is all part of that.

Lynne Edris:
That magic.

Pete Wright:
That magic, yeah. And then there’s shame because you didn’t do it right. You didn’t do it “right” the first time. You didn’t start planning weeks ago. You were waiting for the creative inspiration, and now you’re suffering through it, you’re going to let people down. That story has become a lie.

Lynne Edris:
That’s huge. That’s huge. And that lie, again, it’s just a pattern that you’ve reinforced. It’s just a way of thinking that you can change. It doesn’t have to be that way, forever. It’s not going to change itself, either. You’ve got to learn to find a way to start making that a little bit of progress on something. That last minute propulsion thing. I call that purposeful procrastination. So, when you can learn to work with it, I know that I’m going to get that burst. But when I get that burst isn’t always predictable. It isn’t always under my control. And that always goes back to that sort of dopamine disconnect with ADHD. People with ADHD are deficient in how we process the brain chemical dopamine. And dopamine is responsible for feeling motivation. It’s the neurochemical that is engaged when we reinforce behaviors or when we feel feelings of reward.

Lynne Edris:
So, that’s if you’re unmotivated for something, a big piece of that is your dopamine deficiency. But learning how to start to inch your way towards something and start to make some progress. So you can start to build some momentum, then if you’re not done, when you get the burst, the dopamine boost that you get. The burst of motivation from the impending deadline it’s not all out crisis time. It’s more intense. That’s when I’ll let my perfectionism step in a little bit. That’s when I’ll, I would say pretty things up. I’m trying to think of an example. Gosh, I did a webinar last week for an event that was a topic that I hadn’t done before, and it was… So, it was like a starting from scratch kind of a PowerPoint presentation, which just like I hear danger, danger [crosstalk 00:43:45], bells and whistles. You’re going to get yourself in trouble with this one.

Lynne Edris:
So, inching my way along and then allowing that sort of last minute rush to be just final touches is… That’s an okay way for me to work. I know I’m going to have a really hard time having it stamped final two days before. That’s not my MO, but I also know that if I don’t really make some good progress and have it all but done, then if that elusive moon and the stars and the planets need to align feeling that you get when you push it to the 11th hour doesn’t arrive, I’m still in [crosstalk 00:44:30].

Pete Wright:
And you haven’t let the dopamine candy hit reinforce the wrong muscle.

Lynne Edris:
Right. That’s a really good point.

Pete Wright:
When it works and your late propulsion is working and flowering, and you’re just a transcendental cloud of inspiration and productivity, then you are being fed by the wrong dopamine response because dopamine don’t care. It’s going to feed whatever-

Lynne Edris:
No.

Pete Wright:
And that becomes an addiction in and of itself. I am addicted to this late onset propulsion. Yeah, that’s hard.

Lynne Edris:
Absolutely.

Pete Wright:
Be aware of that.

Nikki Kinzer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative),

Pete Wright:
What lies are your-

Lynne Edris:
That’s a really good [crosstalk 00:45:10]-

Pete Wright:
… chemicals telling you? Everybody’s lying to me. I think there’s a lot of… I think this is actually a message of a lot of hope because awareness brings hope, and hopefully-

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, it does.

Pete Wright:
… some of this conversation has inspired some hope for others. Lynne, you’re delightful. Seriously, why has it been so long?

Lynne Edris:
Thank you.

Pete Wright:
Would you plug something? Where would you like people to go to learn more about what you guys are doing?

Lynne Edris:
Sure. You can check out the ADHD Support Talk Podcast on iTunes and all the other podcast places. We also have a website adhdsupporttalk.com, and a Facebook community as well if you enjoy the podcast and you want to connect, you can find the ADHD Support Talk community on Facebook. I do a lot of stuff like most of us do. You can learn more about me, what I do on my website. It’s wwwcoachingadvantages.com.

Nikki Kinzer:
Great. Thank you.

Pete Wright:
All the links will be in the show notes.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes.

Pete Wright:
So great.

Nikki Kinzer:
Thank you so much for being here. Such a pleasure to hear you talk and share your wisdom and we hope it’s not the last.

Lynne Edris:
I hope so too. This was fun. It’s been so nice to chat with you guys, and I hope your listeners and your viewers will find something here that’s really helpful for them. If nothing else, pay attention to the self flagellation. Pay attention to the blame and the shame when you find you’re not doing what you intend to do. It’s not helping you and anything you can do to break that and step into problem solving is going to help tremendously.

Nikki Kinzer:
Love it. What a great way to end. Thank you so much.

Lynne Edris:
Thanks, guys.

Pete Wright:
Thank you, everybody, for downloading and listening to this show. We so appreciate you. Thanks for your time and your attention. Don’t forget if you have something to contribute about this conversation, we’re heading over to the Show Talk channel in our Discord server. We’re always over there. You can join us right there by becoming a supporting member at the Deluxe Level at patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer, and Lynne Edris, I’m Pete Wright, and we’ll see you next time right here on Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast.